The Problems Of At-Home Exfoliation Methods

Many people exfoliate their skin in their efforts for a more healthful appearance. You might be surprised to know, however, that exfoliating your skin is often not as effective as you might think and can even be harmful to your skin and overall health. Here are the leading problems with exfoliating at home and why professional exfoliation is better for your skin.

Danger of Rougher Scrubs

Aggressively scrubbing your face and body with something like an almond or walnut scrub can feel fantastic, and it definitely removes dead skin cells. However, it also does one other thing you don't want: creates microtears. Microtears are what they sound like: tiny, invisible tears on the surface of your skin. While this doesn't sound like a big deal, microtears can open up your skin to bacteria, which could increase your risk of acne. This scar tissue can gradually cause your skin to be less flexible and more prone to developing stretch marks and wrinkles due to the lost flexibility. If you're using these scrubs on a daily basis, you may be doing serious damage to your skin. Instead of exfoliating every day, try to limit yourself to once or twice a week. Read your skin products' instructions carefully and talk with a professional, like Merkel William D MD, for more information.

Ineffectual Softer Scrubs

You can find softer scrubs on the market, containing sugar, salt, or microbeads, as well as exfoliating electronic brushes. Unfortunately, these methods of exfoliation often just don't work very well to remove dead skin cells. Too much salt or sugar can also cause microtears, so manufacturers often reduce the amount in their products; but, doing so can render them nearly ineffectual. Electronic brushes are great for quickly working up a lather and promoting circulation in your skin, but they're too soft to remove many skin cells, especially when there's a slippery lather between your skin and the brush.

Chemical Exfoliation & UV

There's no argument: chemical exfoliation using alpha-hydroxy acids works. AHA products speed up cell-turnover and rejuvenate the look of your face. However, they also increase the risk of your skin being damaged by the sun. The FDA found that volunteers experienced twice the level of UV-induced cellular damage while using AHA products. UV skin damage can not only increase your risk for burns and cancer, but it can also speed up the aging process. If you still want the benefits of AHA products, make sure that you aren't taking medication that makes you sensitive to the sun, and make sure you apply sunblock to your face after your skin routine.


Microdermabrasion, when performed at a licensed esthetician or dermatologist's office, works wonders for the skin. These dermabrasion methods generally use tiny crystals or even diamonds to loosen and remove dull skin cells, but without the roughness and sharp edges of things like walnuts or plastics that hurt the skin. No chemicals are used in the process, so your skin has no added risk of UV damage, and the procedure only needs to be performed once or twice a month for visible results.

The cosmetics market is filled with products that don't deliver on the promises they make, or they hold hidden dangers that they don't inform you about. If you want your skin to have a fresh glow without the risk of damaging your skin or wasting your money on products that don't work, try microdermabrasion.